There's a good chance many who just plucked this edition of Custom Classic Trucks (on sale December 25) from the newsstand were surrounded by a winter wonderland as they walked into the retail establishment of their choice. It's a pretty safe bet- after all, this is the time of year when most of North America is buried under a blanketof snow or, at the very least, freezing cold. For the folks who are passionate about customizing classic trucks, it's the time of year when thoughts and dreams turn into hardcore plansand the show gets on the road.
This issue's headline, "DIY Special," expresses the theme that will span each issue of Custom Classic Trucks until the arrival of the July issue (on sale July 17, 2008), where we will have progressed from rolling chassis comparisons and crate motor dream guides to the final phases of completion that will include all the selections necessary to ready a customized classic truck to show and go in the summertime. A good story to illustrate the earliest stages of a build is the Barn Find big-window '56 F-100 I just acquired and the used '56 F-100 rolling chassis I bought a couple of weeks afterward. This is an excellent way to illustrate the two very distinct schools of thought when it comes to customizing a classic truck. The first is the wise old adage that you buy the very best example you can find and go from there. The second is to look for whatever you can afford and build it.
I didn't get my Barn Find '56 for a steal, and no, I'm not a rich guy. Back in the early '70s-or maybe it was the early '50s-I had an incredible desire to own a '56 Ford big-window, but the darn things were always way out of my price range. Now that I'm in my mid-50s and some friends are dropping dead around me like flies, I decided it was now or never. The next step was to put out the word, and in a flash "Boss" Bob told me about the '56 big-window Ford featured on these pages.The moment I rolled up and got a good look at the Raven Black beauty, I knew it was the one, and I swore to myself that I was going to do whatever it took to buy this truck. Long story short, I dumped my '05 Harley Road Glide and my hot-rod '26 T-roadster and ran up my credit cards.
One of the few modifications...
One of the few modifications on the Barn Find '56 was the exhaust system. Y-block-powered trucks typically tapped into the single-exhaust crossover and looped back a muffler shop-fabricated head pipe to run a dual exhaust. Not only does this type of arrangement look Mickey Mouse, it also runs a lot of heat right past the fuel pump and lines, which, needless to say, is a bad idea.
The engine in the Barn Find...
The engine in the Barn Find '56 is the original 272-inch Y-block betrayed by its yellow engine enamel color. The red four-barrel top end on the 272 is from a 292 or a 312. Once the valve covers have been pulled and we get a look at some part numbers, we'll have a better idea. Before it's all said and done, there's a good chance a ProCharger supercharger will reside above the generator.